It took 15 years, but Naruto Uzumaki is finally Hokage! Which means he’ll be wasting his days doing paperwork while his son, Boruto, has adventures.
With Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, are fans going to get a remix of the Naruto story or something different? Well…not much was revealed in the first episode to paint a picture, but what was shown was fairly good!
Or at least compared to Shippuden. Boruto is being directed and storyboarded by Hiroyuki Yamashita, who is considered to have directed the best episodes of the Shippuden series.
Boruto got off to a beautiful start to pull in fans! The parkour opening sequence was smooth and dynamic, the brief fight scenes had pop, and the backgrounds are filled with color and detail.
Studio Pierrot also did a good job focusing on some of the smaller moments, like with Hinata telling her kids how she met Naruto for the 100th time. Studio Pierrot has a reputation of cutting corners during these smaller scenes, which leads to off-model art, but everything looked good.
It’s also really neat to see how much the Hidden Leaf Village has advanced in terms of technology. No longer is it a rural village, but a metropolis. Tall buildings with screens, paved roads, a train system…it’s like returning to your old home and seeing how much it has changed.
The first episode did not hide how Boruto has issues with his father, who he accuses of spending too much time on Hokage duties and ignoring his family. This is most likely the central theme for the first arc during Boruto’s early days at the Ninja Academy. It’ll be interesting to see the dynamic this plays as Boruto tries to carve a path as a ninja while living in his father’s shadow.
Denki, a new character, was also shown to have father issues. Being the heir of the company that helped modernize the Hidden Leaf Village, Denki is being forced to study ninjitsu so he can become a strong leader. While Boruto’s issue with Naruto comes from a lack of attention, Denki’s dad is shown to be overbearing and even strikes him.
It’ll be interesting to see this theme play out, as it can lead to some strong long-term story developments.
Boruto chose to focus on Boruto and Denki while giving minimal screen time to Naruto, Hinata, Shikadai, and Sarada. The choice to go small means the episode is a great jumping-in point for viewers who are not familiar with the Naruto franchise since they won’t have a lot of older characters thrown at them. But, the episode did include some references and Easter eggs that long time fans will notice.
However, some viewers might find this small scale approach to be on the boring side. While we do get a glimpse of an apocalyptic type future at the start of the episode, all of the events are taking place several years in the past. With no central enemy or really BIG moments, fans looking for something action-packed and exciting might be disappointed.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations was a solid premiere. We got to learn a little about Boruto’s personality, got to see some cool visuals, and had an interesting father-son theme introduced. Long time Naruto fans and newcomers will find a fairly enjoyable episode!